Monday, May 25, 2009

Leonard Orban and Multilingualism

According to Leonard Orban, the European Commissioner responsible for multilingualism, “many Europeans already speak a great number of different languages. But still, language skills are unevenly spread across countries and social groups in Europe”. [1] Vienna is a very multicultural city and most everyone here speaks several languages. But this is not the case throughout all of Austria or all of Europe.  People residing in larger cities speak several languages because of several reasons. They are near Universities and with higher education comes multilingualism. Large cities attract tourists and foreigners, which by default introduces new languages.

Orban also made the point that multilingualism has increased with the recent economic downturn.[2]  Shop owners cannot afford to turn anyone always simply because of a language barrier.  It is very common for business people to know enough of several languages to make a sale.  Because money is tight these days, shop owners are making a great effort to accommodate their customers.

It is also true that the work field for translators has increased since the economic crash. It is becoming more and more important to converse with each other on a more global level. With tensions running high all over the world, it is important that all messages are accurately and appropriately conveyed.  When non-native speakers translate, they often make mistakes, whether it be in grammar or colloquialisms or what have you.  It is important that the translator not only be a native speaker, but also exceptional in that particular language, to ensure that everything is translated to the highest degree.

[1] Orban, Leonard. A Bridge to Mutual Understanding,

[2] ibid

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